San Diego attorney Cory Briggs and his personal and professional partner, Sarichia Cacciatore, have signed contradictory documents about where they live and their relationship — potential felonies according to a prosecutor and mortgage fraud experts.
inewsource recently reviewed documents — sworn statements — that show discrepancies about where the couple lives.
In 2002, Briggs and Cacciatore bought a home in Clairemont, and in 2010, they purchased another house in Sunset Cliffs. They have lived in that home since at least 2011, according to voter registration records, campaign contributions and homeowner exemptions filed with the county.
In 2013, however, the couple claimed the Clairemont house was their primary place of residence, or “owner occupied,” on paperwork for a $259,000 mortgage for that dwelling. On that loan, they listed their Sunset Cliffs home as their current address.
Lenders generally give more favorable interest rates and terms for owner-occupied houses because they believe they will be better maintained than rentals.
In December 2014, when Cacciatore was being deposed as part of a lawsuit Briggs had brought, an attorney asked her if she “had the same tenants in that property” in Clairemont since 2010. Briggs objected to the question and instructed Cacciatore, his client, not to answer.
John Campbell, a trial lawyer, mortgage fraud expert and professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, said misrepresenting occupancy information on a mortgage is done for various reasons, ranging from “pure negligence” to obtaining better loans.
“That changes underwriting,” he said, “it changes the likelihood of lending, it changes the rates and it could change insurance structures, too.”
Vance Welch, a deputy district attorney in San Bernardino County, said intentionally misstating facts on a recorded document is a penal code violation — “still a state prison offense.”
“The whole idea, why it’s so important, why people should care,” Welch said, “is the preservation of the records. We have to have somewhere where we can go and believe that there is validity to this record.”
Richard Hagar specializes in real estate and mortgage fraud compliance and legislation in Washington and trains attorneys general and other law enforcement agencies across the country in detecting predatory lending and fraud. He said misrepresenting information on sworn documents is serious.
“That’s a felony at that point,” he said. “And that’s a Bar issue too.”
If Cacciatore lied about her relationship with Briggs under oath, it would be considered perjury. Likewise, recording a deed stating they are “husband and wife,” if they know they are not, would constitute filing a “false document,” a violation of Penal Code Section 115(a), according to Welch.